Dates- The Super Food
Which is your favorite? A date paired with Cashew, Almond, and a small piece of coconut. Or a smoothie with just two ingredients, the delicious dates, and milk.
Dates, the lusciously soft and wonderfully sweet fruit have a lot of varieties and an abundance of health benefits related to each of them. It has been a staple food of the Middle East for thousands of years. Dates are stone fruits (have a single seed surrounded by sweet fleshy meat) that have a rich, intensive caramel-like taste when they fully ripen and are also edible when they are half ripened.
History of Dates
The origin of the delicious date is still uncertain. Studies show that it may have probably originated from Egypt, Mesopotamia or the Persian Gulf area, or even western India. Fossil evidence and studies indicated Dates are the oldest cultivated fruit in the world that goes back at least 50 million years ago. However major producers of dates nowadays are Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.
Phoenix Dactylifera, the scientific name of date palms originated in ancient Greece. Phoenicia ( A coastal region between the Jordan Valley and the Mediterranean Sea) is believed as the homeland of the palm tree because Date palms grow abundantly there.
Dates Nutrition Facts
Dates have an excellent nutrition profile, which contains several vitamins and minerals, besides fiber and antioxidants. Their calorie content is high when consumed in dry form.
100-grams of dates have nutrients as follows
Fiber: 7 grams
Carbs: 75 grams
Copper: 18% of the RDI
Iron: 5% of the RDI
Protein: 2 grams
Potassium: 20% of the RDI
Magnesium: 14% of the RDI
Manganese: 15% of the RDI
Vitamin B6: 12% of the RDI
The health benefits of dates
Here’s how it could benefit our health
1. Strengthens the bones
Dates help preserve bone health with the calcium, potassium, and magnesium content in it which helps in reducing the risks of fractures.
2. Rich in iron :
Dates are one of the natural sources of iron that can help boost hemoglobin levels hence stimulating red blood cell production in the body. Dates are good for pregnant women to consume daily for the maintenance of iron levels as well as support the growth and development of the baby.
3. Rich in fiber:
Dates are rich in natural sugars and dietary insoluble fiber. The fiber in dates can slow down the rate at which sugar can get absorbed into the bloodstream. The fiber is also good for solving constipation difficulties and supports bowel movement.
4. Boost energy
Dates are a good source of sugar and calories. This makes dates a quick source of instant energy. Dates are used as pre-workout food because of their capability to give an energy kick. Because of the same, Dates are consumed as the first food to eat when breaking the fast.
5. Good for the heart
The antioxidants present in dates reduce the bad cholesterol LDL and increase the good cholesterol level HDL which helps in preventing heart attacks and strokes.
6. Improves sexual health
Dates contain estradiol and flavonoids which have positive effects to improve sperm count and quality.
Different varieties of dates
Date palm trees have been cultivated since the ancient ages. That’s the reason there is no exact number to quantify the different varieties of dates. Most dates have a sweet flavor. However, different kinds of Dates vary in size, color, shape, sweetness level, and pulp texture.
Some of the varieties found worldwide are Khudri Dates, Mabroom Dates, Mashrook Dates, Safawi dates, Medjool Dates, Rabia Dates, Sagai Dates, and Sukkary Dates. The popular among these are Medjoul/Medjool Date, Safawi Date, Mabroom Date, Kudari Date, and Sagai Date. Dates are categorized into three, soft dates, semi-dry dates, and dry dates.
Medjool dates are more caramel-like in taste. It is well known for its natural sweetness. They’re reddish-brown in color and large in size than other common types like Deglet Noor. They have an oval shape, brown color textured skin. Medjool dates are majorly cultivated in Morocco, Palestine, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. They are consumed dried but not dehydrated, making them soft and sticky. They become more sugary and delicious as they dry. They are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and potassium, and are known as the ‘king of dates’ due to their natural sweetness and large size. Medjool dates contain a large amount of fiber and potassium (twice as a banana/per gram). It does not have much protein and fat. However, Medjool dates are advised to take in moderation.
Safawi dates are the black-colored, fleshy dates grown in Madinah, Saudi Arabia. They are popular for their abundance of multivitamins and minerals that can lead to a plethora of health benefits. Safawi date palms are characterized by their high rate of productivity and exceptional quality. They are sweeter than Khudri dates. Chewy and wrinkled in texture, Safawi dates come in dark cherry color with hints of brown. Safawi dates are known for health benefits such as, improving digestion and treating anemia and intoxication.
Mabroom dates have a long slender body. They have skin that is almost translucent and dark brown in color. The Mabroom dates are not sweet as compared to other dates. It has a chewy texture with a fibrous taste when dried. It is a traditional variety of dates originating from Saudi Arabia. It contains natural fibers and minerals making them very healthy.
Kudari / Khudri dates are not as sweet as Medjool. It has a moderate sweetness. It is dark brown in color with a chewy texture. Their skin flakes and comes out a little, but not too wrinkly. Safawi dates are majorly cultivated in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Kudari dates come in both small and big sizes.
Segai dates have a unique multi-hued appearance, an elongated shape with the tip less wider than the base. Sagai/Segai dates are mildly sweet with two-toned gourmet. Because Segai dates are mildly sweet compared to other dates, they are perfect for consumption as snacks. They are medium-sized premium dates with a crunchy dry base.
The date itself is so delicious, what if it is cooked or treated well with skilled hands. Dates are most consumed in their dry stage. However, they are delicious and edible in several stages of ripeness. Some of the date recipes that can be made easily are mentioned below.
- Date smoothies, Date shakes, Date juices, etc
You can make a date-sweetened smoothie/shake/juice with any of the fruit such as green apple, strawberry, banana, Chikku fruit, etc.
- Date protein bars
Protein date bars, Filled with the goodness of nuts with a chewy date base are delicious and great as a pre-workout snack, breakfast bars, and a thoughtful gift.
- Date Pickle
Date pickle with lemon and green chilly is a classic dish in south Indian cuisine. Sweet and sour lemon dates pickle is best with rice, Biriyani & Paratha.
- Date Sauces and Date Syrups
It is the best alternative natural sweetener you can make.
- Date Laddoo
Date Laddoo can be made by pairing dates with all the available dry fruits and nuts without adding a single drop of sugar.
- Date brownies
Medjool is the best date to make no-bake brownies. the dark chocolatey flavor and chewy texture of Medjool can create magic when blended with cocoa powder, walnuts, and cashews.
How to store dates
- Store them in an airtight container (you can use vacuum bags if you have a vacuum sealer.)
- Store them in a cool place.
- Dry dates can be stored in the kitchen cupboard (make sure they are out of direct sunlight). Deglet Noor is a common example of dry dates.
- Store them away from heat-producing equipment (stove, oven, or any other device)
- Soft/Fresh dates must be kept refrigerated
Medjool date is a popular example of soft dates.
Buy Premium Dates
Harvest of dates in the Middle East begins in summer, starting from June to October. We provide the best quality 100% genuine dates directly collected from farms all over the world.